Unfortunately, it’s very easy for us to forget hardship, hurt, pain and suffering when we are surrounded by our Christmas decorations, our lists of food for the Christmas shop stuck to the fridge door, and the abundance of toys added weekly to our children’s Santa lists. But the reality is that Ireland is embedded in a housing crisis that is affecting our most vulnerable. Children. There are 6,709 people that Focus Ireland are aware of, who are homeless in Ireland. 2,426 of those are Children. Homeless. We can’t live like this anymore. Which is why I wanted to bring to your attention a campaign recently launched by Focus Ireland. Please read on and support our most vulnerable in society.
Focus Ireland have launched an urgent appeal to help the estimated 1,200 families including almost 2,400 children who are living in temporary accomodation. Parents and children, families, suffering under the stigma of homelessness, the anxiety, the stress, the worry and the fear of a future they are uncertain of. Christmas is perhaps the hardest time for families as a simple and basic human right such as a roof over our heads is often the top of the much needed list for many families.
Sr. Stan spoke passionately at the launch of the Focus Ireland campaign of the terrible impact being homeless has on children and families. She said: “Christmas should be one of the happiest times of year for children and their families. However, it breaks my heart to think that up to 2,500 children will be homeless on Christmas day this year.”
She added: “I know from meeting families who are homeless that we support, it’s the children who feel it the worst. Many times a family who are homeless are often squeezed into one hotel room – three or four people in one room, nowhere to cook or for children to play. There are also many single people and couples homeless and they all need a place to call home.”
One mother Gillian who was homeless but has now secured a home with support of Focus Ireland said: “When you have a home you don’t realise how lucky you are…. my daughter was only two weeks old when we became homeless. I don’t think I’d even be here now if it wasn’t for Focus Ireland. I wake up every day now and think, I have a home.
Sr. Stan said: “We are working hard to support these families every day and not just at Christmas but we depend on donations at this time of year more than ever to raise vital funds so our services can cope with the rising demand. I am asking people to please give what they can afford to support our urgent Christmas appeal. Any donation will help us to directly support these families and also help fund our work to prevent other families and single people from becoming homeless in the first place.”
You can donate whatever you can afford at Focus Ireland or by calling 1850 204 205.
This post is part of a Blog March by members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers network, to raise awareness of homelessness and Focus Ireland’s campaign. You can read more posts on the subject below or by following the hashtag #FocusOnChristmas on social media. Thank you.